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inland, and before reaching those productive tracts I have mentioned also the numerous barbarous tribes that inhabit the banks of these rivers would at first render the journey dangerous and slow, it would, however, be exceedingly advisable that every encouragement should be given to the thorough examination of these rivers. The route by Zeyla presents the advantage of passing in one district through the Kingdom of Shoa, a Christian nation acknowledging one Sovereign; on the other hand, his dominions. are divided from the sea by an extensive and dangerous tract of country afflicted with severe drought during a great portion of the year. On the fourth route, the branch to Souakim labours under a similar disadvantage, and is also farther from the central point than the one to Massowah, which is comparatively free from these difficulties.

The caravans from the interior on crossing the Blue Nile at Basso, about 120 miles to the northward of the great emporium of Enarea, traverse a Christian country from thence to Dixa, an easy journey of 3 days from Massowah. Of this latter, even in the dry season, there is only a space of 30 or 40 miles unprovided with water, and this, from their ignorance of well-making or other precautions; and the tribes inhabiting this belt between the sea and the high plateau or table-land commencing at Dixa, are a tolerably well-disposed though ignorant nomadic race, nominally under the jurisdiction of the Naïb of Arkeeko.

The heat of this part of the coast is great during the summer months, but not unhealthy. The traffic is entirely carried on by means of beasts of burthen, which are numerous and cheap in all parts of the interior-horses, mules, and donkeys: these are left on the hills and the packages transferred to camels when about 60 miles from the coast.

Caravans arrive at and quit Massowah at all seasons of the year, but are most numerous about August and February.

The mussulmans alone of Abyssinia export slaves. The goods that are brought from the interior are gold, of a not very fine quality, ivory, coffee equal to that of Yemen, musk or zibad, wax, some kinds of spices. Though gum abounds everywhere, even near the coast, the trade in that article has hitherto been comparatively trifling. From the cheapness of cattle a valuable trade in hides might be formed; much of the uncultivated land would be favourable to the production of indigo; and cotton might be grown in the neighbourhood of Massowah. Hippopotamus teeth are available in quantities were there a demand; saltpetre and sulphur are found abundantly, the latter particularly in a mountain about two days' journey from the coast. The export of mules to the Mauritius has been large of late years. The whole country abounds with iron.

I bought specimens, now lost, of gold ore from the vicinity of Gondar, of which the inhabitants are ignorant, containing also copper. The duties at present levied on the Abyssinian exports at Massowah amount, I have reason to think, to about 70,000 dollars per annum, but I could not state this with certainty.

The return produce is as follows:-British goods, brought by the Parsee traders from Bombay, consist of calicos, plain and printed; scarlet cloth, silk, carpets of brilliant colours, red and blue Indians, or India piece goods in large quantities, velvet, and muslins. European sword-blades are much valued, but must be of a particular kind to suit the market. Matchlocks alone are prized on the other side of the River Tacasse as yet, but in the province of Tigré, a strong predilection exists for flint muskets, and even for percussion fire-arms.

The dress of the inhabitants consists at present entirely of cotton cloths, spun and woven by hand labour; and in some years they purchase the raw material largely from Bombay, though entire provinces amongst them are cultivated with that article; but if once induced to adopt our common fabrics, the raw produce would probably come into the market. A good cloth of the country costs the wearer 3 to 4 dollars, which (considering that 1 dollar of grain is a year's consumption for one person) is an extravagant price. The only money that passes current is the German crown of Maria Theresa.

Of other European commodities in demand, I may mention German sword blades, matchlocks of Syria and Persia, carpets of any fabric, looking-glasses, copper in any shape, red morocco, frankincense, bottles, and tumblers; for the Galla market immense quantities of beads are brought from Trieste through Egypt and Djeddah. Cutlery has been introduced, though an English knife is always an acceptable present.


The Abyssinian merchants are spirited and enterprising, and always inquire eagerly for novelties; and the genius of the nation generally appeared to me decidedly biassed towards trade. present they are content with slow journeys and a large profit, the caravans being sometimes a year between Enarea and Massowah, but the principle of quick returns is thoroughly understood by the inhabitants of Tigré, the nearest province to the coast, and could some weights be removed even partially that now press heavily on the commerce of Abyssinia, I doubt not that it would again flourish, as when the merchants of India and Arabia thronged the harbour of the now ruined and forgotten city of Adoolis (in the Bay of Arkeeko).

The first and most important point would be to insure the British protection, and that effectually, to the Abyssinian merchants

when they reach the coast. This, they themselves ardently long for; and it is my opinion that it cannot be afforded to them with mutual advantage save at Massowah, or its immediate neighbourhood.

The appointment of a Consul at that place would be of use, that he might report the course of events; but the occupation of that island, if possible, by the English would be the most effectual means of establishing a permanent and valuable trade with the whole of the interior of this portion of Africa. The consequences of this would be that the intervening tribes would quietly submit to their neighbours, and the intercourse between the Christian country and the sea-coast become uninterrupted and constant. A Treaty effected with the Ras on friendly terms would insure access to the English to all his dominions, and he would easily be convinced of the utility to his revenues, of encouraging his own mercantile community by a better system of imposts, by improving the roads, and by building a few bridges, for which he would then be able to procure artificers. A. resident or residents at his Court might insure with a little tact his correspondence in all our views.

Some time since a Treaty was broached between the English and the native Chief of Tigré, the basis of which was that the trade of Massowah should be diverted into a new channel, by an English establishment in the Bay of Amphylla to the southward, the Chief on his part engaging to open the road through the country of the Taltals for the caravans to the coast. In the present unsettled state of the district of Tigré, there would be many difficulties now in the way of such a scheme, still should no other spot be available, I think that our first object should be to secure a footing, however small, on any point within 40 miles of Massowah, that will furnish a harbour.

Now if there exists a difficulty in treating with the Porte for any part of its possessions in that quarter, our views should be directed to a bargain with the Naib of Arkeeko, who is still acknowledged virtually as Sovereign of the mainland. The Treaties, in fact, existing between him and the Sultan, for the occupation of Massowah, are, I believe, rather ill-defined, but in point of fact the Turks pay the inhabitants of Arkeeko a subsidy of 1,000 dollars a month, and have no settlement or authority on the mainland. How far the Naib has bound himself not to dispose of any portion of his territory to other Powers I know not; but if he could be induced to sell to us any position on the land surrounding the Bay of Arkeeko, where fresh water is found, I should not think there would be any other material difficulty. At present the traders are all forced to dispose of their goods in the Island of Massowah. Should this idea be considered worthy of consideration, I beg to point out as an agent with the Naib, Mr. Coffin, who has been in

that part of the country nearly 40 years, and is well acquainted with all the former Treaties, the language, laws, &c. The jealousy and constant disputes between the Turkish Governor and the Naib, as well as the poverty of the latter, would perhaps facilitate any dealings with him. Supposing a British trader were established in that quarter, ships would time their voyage according to the Monsoon, arriving with the end of the southerly winds, and departing with the commencement of the northerly, in which case the distance between Massowah and the Indian Ocean would never occupy more than 5 or 6 days to 10. The voyage is, I believe, much less dangerous than that of Djiddah, and an accurate survey from Aden and the buoying of the channel through the Bay of Arkeeko would render it perfectly safe. The harbour is tolerable, but that of the Island of Massowah itself is excellent.

In fine, I would state it is my opinion, that our possession of the Island of Massowah, would render a permanent and valuable commercial intercourse with the whole of the interior of Abyssinia certain, and that an establishment on the mainland, if it could be effected through the Naib independent of Massowah, would offer a fair prospect of the same, attended however with some difficulties and a greater expense. Nor do I think any other part of the coast can compare with this in facilities for such a purpose.

I will now shortly state the position of Ras Ali in the interior, that no misunderstanding may exist with regard to our relations with him. The rightful Emperor still resides, a shadow of royalty, at Gondar, and Ras Ali represents the race of powerful Chiefs, Galla by origin, but now Christian, who have now retained the Government about 60 years. He has reigned about 16 years, and is much loved; but, as may be supposed, his power, though great, is not so fixed but that an unsuccessful battle may hurl him from his throne: he is rather, therefore, to be designated as the most potent Chieftain than as a King, and his influence extends on the one hand to Dixa, on the other to the Gallas and to Shoa, though sometimes disputed. With so uncertain a Government, I need scarcely point out the necessity for particularly considering the degree and nature of the alliance that we might form with him and his family, and the precise instructions on this point that should be given to whoever may be appointed to carry it into effect.

Respecting the Slave Trade, this being carried on, as I have mentioned, solely by the Mahomedans, and many of the Christian Chiefs being averse to it and permitting it solely on account of the duties they levy, our presence and advice would soon induce them to put a stop to it throughout Northern Abyssinia, as I have heard them express the wish to do. This would be at least a good commencement on this coast, and unattended with violence or expense,

and more would be effected in this way and that of civilizing the country generally in two years, than by the efforts of our missionaries in a century.


No. 4.-Mr. Plowden to Mr. Addington.—(Received August 28.) SIR,

August 28, 1847.

I HAVE the honour to submit, for your perusal, a short memorandum, as desired by you on Thursday, and respectfully awaiting a reply to the communication I then laid before you.

H. U. Addington, Esq.

I am, &c.



IN reviewing the claims of different Powers to the Island of Massowah and the neighbouring coast, the one that has the priority is doubtless that of the Emperor of Abyssinia, who appointed the Baharnagaseh, or Ruler of the Sea. This officer resides at Dixa, and still retains his title; but so long a time has elapsed since he has been obliged to withdraw from all active interference near the sea, that, with reference to a British establishment, his rights may be considered null in that quarter.

There remains the somewhat complicated question of the respective rights of the Naib of Arkeeko, and the Turkish Government, now represented by the Officer of the Pasha of Egypt.

Some hundreds of years since the Turks appear to have conquered the coast, and to have appointed the Naib, a native Chieftain of power, who embraced the Mahomedan religion, as their representative on the mainland, he paying tribute. They subsequently abandoned their conquest in this quarter, and the Naib (whose residence is about 6 miles from Massowah), became virtually an independent Sovereign, over both the mainland several days' journey along the coast in either direction, and the Island of Massowah, and ceased to pay tribute.

In consequence of some disputes that occurred in his family, as to who should be the Chief, it would appear that the Turks were again invited by reference to the Pasha of Djiddah, to settle this point, and to the occupation of the island, they paying to the Naib a stipend of 1,000 dollars per month, in consideration of abandoning to them the duties levied on all merchandize, imports and exports; thus apparently, however, nullifying their former claims of vassalage. In fact, for some time the Naibs ceased to require a firman, but latterly they have even presented themselves at the island, and received their appointment from the Turkish Governor.

It is clear that, at the period of Mr. Salt's visit some 40 years

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